Monthly Archives: January 2014

San Blas Islands Here We Come…

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Well, my Birthday is Tomorrow, Jan 29th and we’re headed to San Blas for four nights. We’ve read a lot about this area of Panama, just off the Caribbean coast, and I’m so excited to finally get to explore it. Several months ago, not long after we arrived in Panama, we discovered that they have a coupon deal similar to “Groupons” in the states called Oferta Simple. We bought two coupons for a stay at a hotel on San Blas called the Dolphin Lodge. It was a great deal, half off! Then we just recently got an email letting us know that it expires on Feb 2!! Yikes!! Better go now!! So, you can imagine right now isn’t the best timing for us to go out of town, but oh well…Guess we’ll just have to suffer! Darn! But seriously, leaving three employees does pose a bit of a complication, not insurmountable of course. Scott is making sure that they have all the materials to continue working on the retaining wall and hopefully all goes well while the Jefe is away. It’s not easy to get out to the islands. Today we’re flying from David to PC, staying one night then catching a small plane out to one of the islands where we will be met by a boat that will take us to our island, there are many so I’m no sure which one we’re going to. Then we have four nights at the Dolphin Lodge where Scott will scope out the nearest hammock and remain there as long as possible! I’m looking forward to doing some snorkeling and likely a bit of hammock time as well!! Kindles are charged up, sadly my iPad is staying home because I seriously doubt there will be internet connectivity on these islands! I may suffer from withdrawal but hopefully I’ll survive! πŸ™‚ You’ll be relieved to know that we have some very good friends who have kindly agreed to spend some time at our house with the kitties so they’ll be well cared for, not to worry! So, I’ll let you know all about this little adventure when I get back home! Following is a little excerpt I copied and pasted from Wikipedia to give you a little info on this wonderful place! Cheers! …. Read the rest of this entry

A Rollercoaster Of Awareness…

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Okay, I’m in a Funk….

As Scott has begun to have a routine of his own, he works on our project from 7:30-4:00, I’m finding myself at a loss, as to what to do with myself. It’s a very strange feeling for me that no one expects me to be anywhere. I could just sit at home alone all day long and no one would even miss me. (don’t panic, I’m OKAY, really) I have no one expecting me to be or do anything at all. This is not a familiar feeling for me and I’ll admit I feel a bit lonely and kinda lost and not a little useless. Right now I don’t feel like I have a ‘purpose’ to my days. I’m enjoying going to the gym and swimming and getting exercise, but the gym is a very quite place. I’ve always been such a people person. Whew! I knew I would miss the social aspects of my salon, the people, the fun conversations about books and life and gossip and the laughing and joking and the reward I got from giving of myself to make people feel good. I know I’ll eventually find my new purpose but at the moment I’m just a bit lost, although at the same time, kinda feeling as though I need to embrace this moment and sit with it so I can process what I’m going through and move forward in a healthy way. Just writing it down feels a little bit better but I don’t like to sound like I’m so pathetic and that’s exactly what it sounds like when I read back to myself what I just said. Geesh! (eye roll!) Well, it’s honest and I think it’s one of the things you like about following my journey. I know it’s one of the things I like about sharing it, being open and revealing to you what this new beginning is truly like for me. (shrug!)

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A Convenient Life…

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Sometimes as I’m running errands and trying to be productive I ponder how many of the things I need to get accomplished just aren’t as neat and tidy and simple and yes, convenient as I’m used to. This isn’t meant to be a complaint, simply an observation of one of the many changes of lifestyle I’ve experienced with this awesome adventure. The task of finding a way to get a simple money order was a good example of what I’m talking about. Normally, (in that other life) I would have known where I needed to go in order to get a money order, I would go there and be confident that I would be walking out with what I needed! Not quite the case for me here. Add to the fact that I not only don’t yet know how or where to acquire such a thing , but I also don’t have a strong grasp on the language and, any semblance of “convenience” just goes right out the window! Another thing as trivial as parking near a store I need to go into can often turn into a search for a place to park that’s at least reasonably near to my destination, you just don’t find big, parking lots up here in Boquete. It’s pretty much a sort of ‘free-for-all’ when it comes to finding a place to park your car. There are a couple of small parking places that are easy to park in, but mostly I park on a side street where I’ve strategically scoped out as the easiest spot to get in and out without too much trouble. I’ve long since given up on any deluded idea that I might just run a quick errand, I constantly remind myself that there’s really no reason to feel hurried, I’m not on any ‘time schedule’. So who cares if I need to walk across town! This is when that “Tranquilo” word comes in handy! And I realize, “Hey, who needs convenience right now? I’m a free bird!” I just take it all in and smile at the friendly faces and say “Bueno!” I watch my step as I stroll along to my destination and I try to adapt to the fact that I may or may not get all the things on my list, at least not today. Who know’s what I may accomplish maΓ±ana and what treasure I may find at Romero’s or at Mandarin or Deli Baru! One thing I consistently find as I make my way through town is lot’s of smiles, there’s always an abundance of those. Read the rest of this entry

Morning Bliss…

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As this fresh new day approaches I sit on my terrace with my coffee and just gaze at my surroundings. Ahhh… sip… smile…sip…the trees seem to sparkle right now as the sun shines down from the bright blue sky and the gentle breeze moves all the leaves two and frow. The clouds slowly moving over the hills in the not so far distance look like a soft blanket, gently caressing the hilltops. The birdsong is mesmerizing, so many different and distinct songs busy chirping and tweeting and communicating to one another in a language I wish I understood. I sit quietly observing this place, this haven, this wonderful, peaceful, place that is now my home. It’s so green, so many different shades of green and it feels to me as though life is just so natural and vibrant and free. I breath in the fresh, crisp, clean air and feel the breeze that gently blows this morning. Ahhhh….sip….Smile…What time is it? What day of the week is is? Is it January already? Does it matter? Nawww…what matters to me right now, in this moment is all this Devine beauty the colors, the sounds the feel of the breeze, the quiet, even the rooster that disturbs the quiet πŸ™‚ It’s all just such a gift, and such a pleasure to know each morning it’s just right outside my door waiting for me to soak it all up, to take it all in and to be filled, each day with gratitude for all the richness that is my new home….. Boquete.

Spinning my wheels today….

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20140113-205441.jpgNo, not 4 wheelin’…I wish I were spinning my wheels up there instead of traipsing around feeling like I can’t seem to accomplish anything I need to accomplish. I need to do something very simple but can’t seem to get it done. I simply need to purchase a money order or get a bank check payable to the Consulate of Panama. We need to send payment for the authentication along with our documents to the Washington DC Panamanian Consulate. I’ve been to ten different places to attempt to purchase a money order…”Necesito comprar un giro postal”. Blank looks..No can do! Even the Western Union here in town doesn’t seem to issue money orders. I thought that’s what Western Union does? (Tranquilo…deep breath…) Now, of course I can understand the banks unwillingness to help (kinda) because I have yet to have opened an account here. We are in the process of collecting all the necessary documents they require in order to open an account but the visa stuff has been the priority so far. My last resort has been to contact a friend and ask if she would be willing to meet me at her bank to purchase a money order or get a bank check. I hate to inconvenience people, but the only other option, according to the person I spoke with this morning at the Panamanian Consulate in DC is to go to the Maritime Authority in Panama City to pay. Well, That seems kinda inconvenient , that would be very costly for us to make another trip …..Grrrrrrr.

Sorry, this post is kinda whiny but that seems to be the tone of this day so far, but hey, it’s only noon so it could look up! The other stupidly frustrating thing that happened today is totally my fault..I bought a stapler the other day, so we can staple the different piles of documents together before mailing them. I bought the wrong size staples!!! Humph! So I went to Mandarin today and bought two more boxes of different size staples and….you guessed it…they also don’t fit my new stapler!! What a dummy!! So, I think I’ll just bring the darn stapler with me next time! Uggg!! Honestly, I feel like crawling back under the covers!! Nawww not really! Maybe I should go lay in the sun with the dog who looks so peaceful and cozy!

(Several hours later and all’s well!)
I told you things could quite possibly begin to look up…and I was right! My friend Sela was kind enough to meet me at her bank and arrange to get a bank check Payable to the Consulate of Panama for the amount of the Authentication (which is $30.00 per page! 8 pages!). Whew! Sigh of relief! And Scott found the right size staples to top off my day ( how easily my day is topped off!) ! We organized all the documents, put them all in a big envelope with a pre-paid, self addressed return envelope and I marched them off to Mail Boxes Etc. to be DHLed to DC. Done! And Done! Now we wait until they are returned to us and then add our FBI report to it to send it all off to PC to our attorney, and the application process will officially be in process!! Which means we can then head back to CA to prepare our container for shipping. My next big task is to get a bank account here! This would have been much easier had I had an established relationship with a bank. And now that we have employees working for us it’s of the utmost importance to get the ball rollin’.

The day just kept getting better because as you may recall Monday is the day I go to my friend Aris’s house to practice Spanish. I had the brilliant idea to walk over to the Feria with her. She also thought that was a Bueno Idea! So I met her at her house and we walked over there. Her house is just practically right next door to the fair grounds so it’s a short walk. I’m glad we went early in the day, around 3:00, because it get’s pretty crazy in the evenings. As a matter of fact I’ve been told that the music goes well past 2:00 in the morning, more like 3 or 3:30. I took a few photos of the enormous stages they have built and they turn into raging Disco’s after dark! I must admit, even though I hate crowds I’m a bit curious and may have to check it out with Aris one night this week, we shall see how brave I’m feeling…. But the Feria is also an amazing place to shop for all sorts of crafts and hand made artisan things. I saw beautiful hammocks and leather purses an jackets and boots and lot’s of woven baskets and plants for sale and hand painted things. I bought a little purse and a key holder to hang on the wall of our house someday. I really enjoyed walking around with Aris. We got an ice cream and found a nice picnic bench near the river and chatted for awhile. Amazing how a yucky day can turn out so not yucky by the end of the day. As a matter of fact…Darn right wonderful! Smiling!

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I’m a 4-Wheelin’ Gal!!

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That’s right! You heard me correctly, I’m a rough and tumble, 4-wheelin’ gal these days! Watch out!! Ha! Ha! Ha! When I lived in California I drove a Jeep Cherokee 4 wheel drive. But I gotta admit If I had ever had occasion or necessity to use the 4-wheel drive on that car I would not have know how to do it! I don’t think I ever shifted that car into 4wheel drive. Now I drive a Toyota FJ Cruiser and just the other day I had my first lesson on how to actually do some off road 4 wheel driving! And I had this new , exhilarating experience driving up to our property. It may sound silly to some, but to me it was such an exhilarating, experience I just have to tell you about it. I know….I do get easily excited by some of the most trivial things, but I just cant help it, It’s all so very different from my life in Los Altos. So, as you know, our property is way up in the mountains and there’s no ‘road’ yet to get up there. Well, let me re-phrase that, for Panama standards there is a “road” kinda, sorta… its actually more like a ‘path’? or a ‘clearing’? But it’s rough going and it’s not for the faint of heart at the moment. As Scott has been trudging up there with his truck for several weeks now the road (or where the ‘road’ will eventually be) is becoming much more evident, you can actually see tracks where your tires go. When we first started driving up there the plants and weeds were higher than our truck. It was very funny. My stomach was always in knots, it just didn’t seem like a place we should be attempting to drive! I was certain we would get stuck and not be able to get out again! Just certain!! Ha! (what an optimist, huh?) After we actually get to our property, after trudging through a very rough path, the ‘road’ goes downhill then hits a creek , (which already has a sort of bridge-ish thing so your not actually driving through water) and heads up pretty steeply, this part, when we were still in the rainy season was much too slick and steep for us to get Scotts truck or my FJ up there, the tires would just spin. So we were hiking up to the spot where our house will eventually be built. Of course before we could even ‘hike’ up there Scott had to first use his shiny new weed-wacker to clear the way to be able to get through the thick brush.

I must pause in my telling for a moment to reflect on the joy my husband got from owning and using his very own nifty Weed-Wacker! Eye roll here! (Smiling Eye Roll, mind you!) That guy….So easily appeased! If you’ll recall, the poor guy had been down for the count for several months before his hernia surgery and then consequently, after the surgery to be well healed. I tell ya, keeping that man down was not an easy feat! He was Stir-Crazy, and insanely unhappy about it!! So I suspect the joyous look on his face as he gassed up that weed-wacker and began to clear the brush was mainly from getting to DO something!! Anyone who knows Scott can imagine how glad he was to be weed-wacking to his hearts content, and my dear husbands heart was indeed ‘content’ as that weed-wacker buzzed and hummed its way through big tall weeds and plants. A couple of times I brought my lawn chair and set it up near the car as he worked away at clearing a path for us to climb to the top of our property. No, I was not interested in trying out his weed-wacker, thanks, but no thanks. πŸ™‚ I wouldn’t want to steal his fun, I’m much to generous for that! πŸ™‚

So back to my joyous experience, cuz as Scott had his joyous Weed-Wacking experience, mine was learning how to utilize the 4-wheel drive in my car. Scott was working up there last week and he had put some bags of cement in the back of my car. He called me and asked if I thought I could manage driving up there so he could get the bags out of my car. Hmmmmm….Well, I had not actually DRIVEN up to the property on that “road” (eye roll) myself and was a bit hesitant, to be honest. But I said I’d drive over and meet him there. When I got there he had driven his truck down to meet me at the bottom and offered to drive my car up so I wouldnt have to…..Well….I gotta learn someday, right? So I may as well give it a shot! So he showed me how to shift the car into low 4 wheel drive and put the gear in low as well and he said,”just follow me”. Okay……So I slowly, at first, began to drive along behind his truck on the path. “Hey…Whoa!…Uhhhh….Whoooooohoooo! THis is pretty FUNNNN!” (Great big smile here!) I couldn’t stop smiling as my trusty FJ slowly made it’s way up through the rough path to where we will someday call our home! Oh Yea! I have now made many trips up there to bring a cooler full of lunch for Scott and I. It’s nooooo Sweat! And It’s soooo fun too! I never dreamed I’d enjoy 4 wheelin’ and I especially never dreamed that I’d be 4 wheelin’ to my HOME!!! Ha!Ha! Ohhhh I just LOVE this place and this new life! Seriously, people I could not be any happier with this Adventure!

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Blogging Lessons…

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Yesterday I got a rather , ummm what word shall I use???? Harsh? Mean? Angry? Bitter? (definitely not kind), resentful? I don’t know what word to use because sometimes it can be difficult to accurately discern the true tone of someones words by email. But suffice it to say , this person who left a comment on my blog, a complete stranger I may add, had issues with my writing and the accuracy of the content of some of my posts. At least I think she meant to portray her distain (?) Possibly superiority as a result of my lack of research into certain information I had published, for example, “Boquete” does not mean” bouquet “and the Feria is not TWO WEEKS its Jan 10-19! Oh, and she knows all about allll the holidays that are observed here in Panama and feels I should also know them and blah blah blah. (maybe she was trying to help me?). I don’t rightly know what the purpose of the comment on my blog truly was, If it was to ‘help’ me, I must say that I did learn something. She’s not wrong about the importance of putting true and correct information on my blog. I do try to write about what I know but given the fact that I don’t know everything about everything, I may occasionally, and very unintentionally, write something that is inaccurate.
May I remind those of you who read my little blog… I’m not a professional writer and honestly it takes some courage to publish my words for all to read. Mostly, I began writing this as a way to stay connected with my friends and family but my readership has grown and now there are hundreds of people who follow my blog who don’t know me and many who tell me they enjoy following my journey. For the most part I’ve been very touched by the kind words I receive from complete strangers. Many of those ‘complete strangers’ have since become good friends and I have my blog to thank for these new friends. They say you have to take the good with the bad and this is something I just had firsthand experience with last night. While I agree I need to remember that putting words out for all to read brings with it a certain amount of responsibility on my part to be as truthful and honest and accurate as I possibly can. But, honestly, truth be told, I Don’t know everything and my experience will not always match those of others who have moved here long ago. I honestly do my best to write and tell you about things as accurately as I can but when I mis-speak, (because I will), I’m happy to make corrections and undo my wrong. Writing a blog, for me, is a learning experience and I’m having a great time doing it, please forgive my mistakes and if you feel the need to share how much more you know than me (which, believe me, will be ALOT!) I ask that you do so in a private email. Boy, is it embarrassing, and I think unnecessary, to get yelled at (that’s how it feels to me) in public. And I beg you to remember that I am human and I’m just sharing my experience, not attempting to sound as though I’m an expert at living abroad or that I am a scholar on all things Panama , did I forget to mention this is a NEW experience for me? As is blogging, I love talking and chatting and sharing my perspective, please don’t ruin my fun, no one’s forcing you to read the junk I write….move on to a different blog or forum or whatever you can find that will provide absolute accuracy , one that will satisfy your need for perfection or does my lack of professionalism,editorial accuracy and literary intelligence just make you feel superior? Hmmmm…..

The “Feria De Las Flores Y De Cafe” is upon us!

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What is the Feria De Las Flores Y De Cafe? Well, it’s my first time to be here in Boquete for this event so I can only describe what I’m seeing so far. Judging by the amount of preparation that has been going on at the Feria grounds all month and all around town as well, it’s a big deal. I’ve seen many store and restaurants repainting and hanging new signs, lot’s of general clean up going on as well. Oh, the town of Boquete is preparing for something that is obviously very big! Since the name of this glorious town actually brings to mind a “Boquete”,( but don’t be fooled it does not MEAN Boquete!) flowers are an obvious theme for a Feria! And Add to that, abundance of flowers , all the coffee fincas spread out all over the mountains here and Cafe is most definitely something to be celebrated. So I’m assuming this Nine day celebration is in honor of these most abundant, and beautiful aspects of Boquete. And have I mentioned , these Panamanians love a Party! Aside from the most amazing flower beds that seem to have bloomed, incredibly, just in time to be celebrated…I see Massive stages being built! There will most assuredly be music! And most likely lots of dancing and general merriment well into the wee mornings at the Feria Grounds. It seems as though there are many more cars in town as well as touristy looking Panamanians who I’m sure are in town to join in on the fun. l love seeing all the people strolling along the bridge with cameras , taking photos of the flower beds at the Feria grounds. It is looking quite spectacular indeed. I will let you know what all the hubbub is as soon as I take a stroll myself and check it out. I suspect it will be crowed, but the good news is, my ankle is almost totally better, so who knows, I might even shake my booty a little bit if the music is playing when I’m there! Of course Scott will run for the hills!

Many of my readers have been asking me about Scotts journey and if he’s back home. Yes, he’s back home again. I picked him up on Tuesday. Unfortunately his trip was not a successful one. He was trying to get to the Panamanian Consulate (not to be confused with the “American” Consulate here in Panama) to have all our Visa documents Authenticated (which can only be done at the Consulate, not the Embassy). There is no “Panamanian” Consulate here in Panama, only an “American” Embassy, which I’ve learned, is not the same. Let me be clear…There is most certainly an American Embassy as well as an American Consulate, what they do not have in Panama is a “Panamanian Embassy & Consulate”, which is who needs to Authenticate our documents.. Because of all the bad weather that the U.S. has been experiencing, his connecting flight was cancelled and United was sooo back logged that we couldn’t even get through to them by phone. So he never made it out of Panama City. He made the most of it though and went to the Embassy to have all the Docs notarized and now we are going to just attempt to mail it all to the Consulate with a self addressed, prepaid envelope and a money order for the Authenicating. Of course, this is also not as straight forward as one would expect! Yesterday I learned that finding a place to purchase a money order isn’t easy. I thought Western Union did that! Not here they don’t’! The lady at the counter of the Western Union looked rather confused by my request, as did the teller at Scotia Bank…HuH? And Fed ex doesn’t offer the service of a PRE PAID , envelope! What? Why is that a problem ?,…I have no idea! I finally asked the guy at Mail Boxes Etc and he said he can do that part and gave me a couple of more places to check about the money order. Sometimes things that should be just easy chores end up turning into a wild goose chase here.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Now, today is some kind of holiday (which I am not as of yet familiar with, but I’m sure this time next year I will have learned more about the holidays ) so Scott has no worker but he took off to go work alone. He has a new worker starting tomorrow. He’s slowly gathering a small crew to help with the retaining wall and then the road up to the lot. Progress is moving along slowly. And SLOWLY is just what I need to adapt to. That darn Visa will eventually get done so I’m actually, somehow, holding onto my Tranquillo and realizing that “Poco a Poco” is just my new life theme! (Smiling!) And today I get to learn how to play Mahjongg with a new friend, so life is good! I do love to learn new things, and I really like playing games and best of all , getting to know a new friend is icing on the cake of this day! I’ll be letting you know all about the “Feria de las Flores y de Cafe” as soon as I check it out for myself. Today is the first day of the Feria so I’ll try to get over there soon. Cheers!

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When a Scary Experience Turns Into An Empowering One…

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Have you ever had to drive around a big, strange city at night, alone? If that doesn’t faze you, well I gotta salute you my friend, cuz I’m just a total wimp when faced with navigating a strange city, and add nighttime to it and Alone…. I’m tellin’ ya, I’m on the verge of tears! REALLY! I know this admission of wimpyness may have changed your vision of this wild, adventurous gal, but I gotta be honest, right? Well, I probably don’t ‘have’ to be quite so honest but , hey, it’s my blog, so I just gotta be me!

So, I’ve posted about this on FaceBook but I must expand on my evening escapades for those of you who aren’t participating in the social gathering that is… FaceBook. You see, this experience is all part of this grand adventure of mine! Learning the ins and outs of navigating a new city, and country, Literally, navigating, and sometimes, all alone, and possibly at night. I just hate driving in an unfamiliar place. I have a lousy sense of direction. Reading a map is not my forte, to put it kindly! I really suck at trying to figure out any map!! To be fair, my sense of direction is very likely effected by my panicky , nervous, frazzled mindset when faced with unfamiliar surroundings. My daughter can attest to my crazy bouts of sitting-up-really-straight-turning-off-the-radio-very-serious-face-moments while driving with me. How many times did she say…”Mommm, Chill!” With a laugh of disbelief while we tried to find an address in a neighborhood I was unfamiliar with.

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Scott’s back to his old tricks…

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He’s Back! Back to work that is! And with gusto! That guy….he set’s his mind to something and Whammo! He just makes it happen! He decided on a plan of action and it is moving forward quite nicely. We’re still working with our architect to finalize the design of the casita and that’s moving along fairly well, the plans should be ready to submit for permits soon. But we haven’t yet hired a contractor to build the structure so Scott is preparing the road up to the lot as well as a retaining wall (about 200 ft) along the road. As I said before, in order to do all that concrete work, he must first prepare a staging area where he can store some tools like shovels and such, and a dry, secure spot to store bags of cement. So, he first constructed two pen/type things to contain gravel and sand,then today he began constructing a small ‘bodega’ or shed that will have a metal roof and a locking door. That famous, sparkly new Concrete mixer got hauled up to the lot this morning and put to work mixing some of that gravel and sand and cement to pour the pad for the floor of the bodega. And of course, I’m just as pleased as to be because he has one worker that is taking over my role as assistant. Archiles, is the guys name and he was working just one day a week on the coffee finca right next to us. When we were loading and hauling all those concrete bricks he was always there and we would wave to him and say Hola. Then he approached Scott and asked if he need a worker. Scott agreed to give him a try and so far, after this first week, he seems to be working out just fine. And he lives very near our property. We have two more guys to talk to on Wed, so very soon it looks like Scott will have gathered a fairly good crew to work with him….Yippeee! The other aspect of ‘setting the stage’ for all the concrete work is of course, water. Given the fact that we have yet to establish access to water up there quite yet, Scott bought a 600 gallon water tank and a smaller290 gallon tank. He found a good spot for the big tank and got it all set up and the plan is to haul the smaller one in the back of the pick up and fill it up in the morning here and just syphon it to the bigger tank until it’s full. We’ll just keep refilling it that way for now, hooking up a hose to it to create access. Yesterday we had to make a run to the local “Do It” center , which is their equivalent of Home Depot, to pick up some tools that he needed. Given the fact that we have a storage unit back in the states that’s overflowing with tools, Scott was not hugely happy to have to buy new ones. And Given the fact that the good ones here are so much more expensive than they are in the States, he decided to just go with the lesser expensive ones and deal with it for now. He even had to buy another generator, believe me he wasn’t happy about spending the money, but unless we want to just wait to do all this work until he has his tools, there was no other choice. Poor guy….forced to go tool shopping, eye roll! So, here’s a few pictures, I know they aren’t especially exciting but it’s the beginning ….. It’s really moving along well so far. Achilese has also been clearing away a lot of the wild, weeds and things, chopping away with his good ol’ machete when Scott runs to get more materials. That guy really works fast clearing and weeding, gotta love that!! We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s great to have had our very first week of construction under our belt…

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Still Working On Getting Our Permanent Residency Visa….

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Boy Oh Boy is this process of gathering all the proper documents for our residence visa a pain in the !@#. We’ve had to wait for three months to begin the process because we needed to provide three months bank statements to prove our lifetime income from the annuity we’re using to satisfy the “lifetime income” requirement. What we didn’t do that we should have done (listen up those of you who are planning to apply for this visa)…we should have gone ahead and began the collecting and Authenticating, getting documents Apostilled, notarized and blah,blah, blah long ago. Now we find ourselves in the unfortunate situation where we’re scurrying to figure out how to do all this before our FBI background check expires in a couple weeks! Yikes! I rrrrrreally don’t want to have to go through the whole crazy fingerprinting thing in Panama City all over again!!

I think one of the more frustrating aspects of this process has been getting consistent answers about what needs to be notarized, what needs to be Authenticated and where and who can do this. Oh, and I am pretty sure all these documents will also need to be translated into Spanish as well. I’ve been on the phone all morning to both the Miami and the Houston Panama consulates trying to ascertain the best way to go about getting all this done. It looks like Scott may be taking a quick trip to Houston tomorrow (sat). And the question still remains, will his FBI report become void when he leaves Panama? Again, very different answers on that one too! We finally have all the papers that we need, with the exception of one thing that we had mailed to Scott’s mom in California, and we will have to have her overnight it to whatever hotel Scott ends up staying at. I’ve met some really lucky and smart folks who have gotten all this done well before their move here and boy do I envy them. We didn’t have the luxury of that option because of the proof of income part. We couldn’t invest in our annuity until the sale of our house and then the requirement of 3 months bank statements showing the income and also a notarized letter of authentication from the institution that holds the annuity took some time as well. We’ve been dealing with a lot of back and forth with many different people trying to slowly and for the most part patiently wait for each piece of this puzzle. Now that we finally seem to actually have all the documents required to start the application process, all that’s left to do is get those stamps of Authentication and notary. Then we can hand them all to our attorney in Panama City and see what’s next. The only part I’m a bit nervous about is the FBI reports. I just hope the information we received from our attorney, (which seems to be totally different from several other people who have gone through this) about the fact that we already left Panama once after having had the background check done. Everyone else has gotten the very specific instructions to not leave the country after the background check or it becomes void. But we had to do our border run in order to have a valid drivers license.

So, we shall see where we are with this after Scott gets all the Authentication done in Houston at the Panamanian Consulate. It will be so nice when this part of our adventure is done. Having our Pensionado will make it so much nicer to live here. For those of you who aren’t regular readers of my blog, in order for our California drivers license to remain valid we are required to leave the country for 24 hours every 90 days. Humph! It’s quite a PIA! We are really hoping not to need to do it again. So cross your fingers that we have gathered all the correct documentation and it’s all properly notarized , authenticated and appostilled . Scott will be heading out tonight (sat) to take the overnight bus to Panama City(7 hours) in order to catch an early flight to Houston on Sunday . Then he’ll be at the Panama Consulate first thing Monday morning and if all goes well he flies back to Panama Tuesday evening,and then catches another bus back to David . Whew! I’ll let you know how it goes….

Transitioning…

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I think I’m going through a bit of a transition in my life at the moment. I just said goodbye to Scott for the day, as he left to go to work at our property. He has a worker now so today’s his first day of being accountable to someone who’s expecting him to be there at a certain time. I’m really glad he’s finally got someone to help him with the physical labor up there but… now I find myself feeling a bit …..Ummmm let’s seee, what word do I want to use? Disconnected? Free? Unfocused? Discombobulated might be the best word….It’s that same ol’ “Now What?” Kind of feeling. For lack of the proper description, I’m not exactly sure what my role is or how I’ll choose to define my purpose right now. Oh, I have a short list of things I need to accomplish today, go to the gym, pay our rent, make some phone calls, bring Scott lunch, clean the kitchen, fill up the hummers food, but I gotta tell you, without a routine I’m just a bit…. lost. It just occurred to me as Scott was driving down the driveway that he’s beginning to have a routine. And I have yet to actually discover what my routine will be, besides going to the gym, which I love. I have a few small goals that are tumbling around my head but I think at the moment I just need to focus on me and I gotta stop getting myself so caught up in feeling guilty about not having a clear, set routine for my days quite yet. In my head I know it’ll come. I’ve spent my whole adult life being so intensely focused, it’s so foreign to me not to have a clear path to follow. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not a crisis or a huge problem. I’m just sharing with you the fact that today I feel as though I’m in the midst of a transition. Since our move Scott and I have been kinda attached at the hip and we’ve been doing most things together. This morning I’m realizing that he’s got a new routine that isn’t mine. Whew! It’s both Freeing and unfamiliar at the same time. Well, I’m off to the Gym now…..I’ll figure this out later….or, maybe I’ll just play Words With Friends! Ha!